POLITICAL ANGER ADDS TO ATCL WOES
The recently reported failure of Air Tanzania to secure a leased plane to maintain operations while their Bombardier turboprop Q300 was first grounded for quite a while and then flown to South Africa for heavy maintenance, has now also caused repercussions from the political side of things.
The transport minister in Dar es Salaam over the weekend condemned the airline’s management for literally putting the carrier out of business while constantly begging for money from government, yet they could not generate any income towards meeting even their monthly recurrent expenses.
C-checks, in form of an added explanation, are not just happening but are part of an ongoing maintenance programme to keep an aircraft ‘airworthy’, and take place after either a certain number of hours flown by the craft or else come due when a maximum period of time has lapsed since the last such check. These details are known to management as part of the regular reporting by respective department to the Managing Director, and an airline source in Dar es Salaam minced no words when he called this situation: ‘totally avoidable and totally negligent’ before adding that ‘in any privately owned airline those responsible would be sacked for cause’.
To make matters worse however the minister then recited past assurances that government would soon find a strategic investor in ATCL, leaving however the key question unanswered who in his right mind would wish to invest in a company which has lost all its market share, has a troublesome reputation in regard of union influence, is facing multiple lawsuits from suppliers and travel agents and is, and has been, for all practical purposes totally broke.
Hence the parting comment of another aviation source in Tanzania who said: ‘it is time government faces reality here. They [management] are unable to keep this thing flying, they have lost to Precision and Fly 540 Tanzania and even other smaller airlines like Coastal Aviation, and they have no place in our skies any longer. This company has time and again eaten our taxes and we got no value in return, so they should close it down wind it up’.
Archive for March 21st, 2011
POLITICAL ANGER ADDS TO ATCL WOES
LAKE NAIVASHA COUNTRY CLUB COMPLETING LONG OVERDUE UPGRADE
The ‘Lake Naivasha Hotel’ as this correspondent remembers the lake side resort from his early days in Kenya, has a long history going back into the early first half of the last century, when the palatial homestead at the shores of Lake Naivasha originally opened as a ‘guest house’ with only 3 rooms available for guests. Those were the days of the ‘flying boats’ by British Imperial Airways, the predecessor of what became the famous BOAC before emerging as British Airways. These – for those days at least – giant aircraft took off from the Thames in London and then made their way across the Mediterranean Sea to Egypt, up the River Nile with a stop in Khartoum and on to Kenya, where they ‘landed’ at Kenya’s first international aviation entry point on Lake Naivasha. The trip, which took several days to complete, had passengers then undertake an arduous journey from Naivasha to Nairobi, up the winding road of the Great African Rift Valley, and the Lake Naivasha Hotel, now the Lake Naivasha Country Club, was swiftly becoming ‘THE’ place to take to before and after flights.
Now under the management of Sun Africa Hotels the property now features 50 rooms and suites plus a Presidential Cottage, and the ongoing renovations which started in October last year have at last seen the public areas and rooms regain their former shine. The resort has two sister properties, the Masai Mara’s oldest lodge Keekorok and the Lake Baringo Club, incidentally all from the former Block Hotels stable, while the Nairobi based ‘Sovereign Suites’ is due to join the group shortly.
Group General Manager is by the way none other than Rahul Sood, past president of the Skal Club of Kampala and former GM at Kampala’s Metropole Hotel – incidentally still very much missed by many of his former staff and most of his patrons – who after a spell in Dar es Salaam moved to Nairobi where their gain remains Kampala’s loss.
Visit www.sunafricahotels.com for more information on the group’s operation or join them on Facebook or Twitter for regular updates.
LONE ELEPHANT ‘SETTLES’ IN KATUNGURU
Tourists and Ugandan travellers alike are reportedly now able to ‘greet’ a lone elephant who has made it a habit to come out of Queen Elizabeth National Park and take strolls through Katunguru, a village located at the Kazinga Channel bridge and the turn off into the park’s Mweya Safari Lodge.
Uganda’s leading newspaper the New Vision has over the weekend broken the story, accompanied by a picture via http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/13/749641.
Residents at Katunguru reportedly confirmed that the elephant regularly ‘visits’ but has not shown any hostility towards people and property nor behaved in an aggressive fashion. One UWA official in regular contact with this correspondent, under usual condition of anonymity, confirmed that ‘we are aware of this and our staff at QENP know that animals at times stray from the main park area, so we try to lure them back into the park. In this case it is monitored as the elephant is not violent, otherwise it may have to be properly relocated to avoid damage and claims against UWA’.
It is noteworthy that the Katunguru bridge was brought after the second World War from the UK, where it had been used during the war years as an alternative bridge across the river Thames and a commemorative plague reminds visitors to the site of this historic fact. The Kazinga Channel connects lakes Edward and George, both part of Queen Elizabeth National Park.
MORE HYDRO POWER COMES ON LINE
A ‘mini hydro electric plant’, feeding some 6.6MW into the national grid, has been commissioned over the weekend, when the Sri Lankan owned Ishasha Eco-Power ended its test phase and started commercial power generation. Located near Kanungu, the main township in that part of the country and not far from the Southern entrance to Queen Elizabeth National Park, the new power plant is one of several licenses ‘mini plants’ which are either already complete or under construction at select parts of the country, where the parameters are conducive to harness a smaller river without having to go into the construction of a major dam. This method is considered environmentally more friendly, cost effective and long term sustainable and can provide rural populations, at times through a ‘stand alone grid’ with affordable electricity, helping to reduce charcoal and firewood use plus bringing the opportunities of social and business developments into such areas which without electricity would not be possible.
A further four such smaller hydro electric plants are due to come on line this year with a combined output capacity of over 40 MW, while the main Bujagali plant is now expected to commence power generation by late this year with an initial 50 MW. At that stage it is thought that the added capacities will be ending the long and often harsh ‘load shedding’ regime Ugandans have suffered from since 2006, which has impaired economic growth considerably and driven the cost of doing business up.
The Electricity Regulatory Authority has already indicated that it will enforce lower tariffs at that stage, bringing relief to millions of ordinary Ugandan households, manufacturing and industries.